Republican front-runner Donald Trump retweeted “A picture is worth a thousand words” with an attached picture of his wife Melania looking beautiful next to an image of Ted Cruz’ wife, Heidi Cruz, looking angry.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2016
This was some kind of retaliation, Trump style, for ads targeted to Mormons showing Melania Trump posing in the nude. The problem is that ad, tacky as it is, is not the work of Ted Cruz; it is from an anti-Trump Super PAC “Make America Awesome”.
After first seeing the ad, Trump threatened:
Lyin' Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin' Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2016
So Donald Trump did what he does, which is reduce women to their appearance and the way they reflect his greatness by fawning over him or not.
Does this matter? Yeah, it kind of does. Donald Trump sees women like a KKK leader sees black people. Women are threats to Donald Trump unless they are subservient and beautiful objects to be owned and dominated.
When journalist Selina Scott did a documentary on Donald Trump in 1995 for ITV, she found out what happens when a beautiful object rebuffs Trump’s ego. It’s not pretty. She recalls him saying to her in her piece in the Mail, ‘”I like beautiful things,’ he purred seductively. ‘That’s why I like you so much.’”
Things. Women are things.
“My 60-minute documentary exposed how through bluff, bombast and braggadocio, he had convinced the American business community he was far richer than he was, and that while the rest of his rivals were ‘losers’, he knew how to make the US great,” Scott wrote, laying out why Donald Trump felt rejected by her, that he had failed to “emotionally seduce her”, thus enraging him and leading him to harass her for years.
Trump sent Scott “intimidating” letters for years, calling her “‘sleazy, unattractive, obnoxious and boring.’ He said I was ‘totally uptight’”.
If you’re a woman who’s ever rejected a powerful man, you know those words are familiar enough to ring true. If a woman won’t go out with a man like Donald Trump, or fall for his game, he will get revenge. Scott told the story of the wife of a prominent New York businessman, whose reputation Donald Trump trashed in a fit of pique after a conflict. Trump reportedly called the woman a “hooker”, among other rude names. There was an American broadcast journalist who Trump wanted to “get” back for asking him questions, which sounds eerily like his recent behavior toward Megyn Kelly.
After recounting how she had to resort to threatening legal action to get Donald Trump to stop harassing her years after she turned him down, Scott explained that Trump sees women as trophies and wanted the ultimate trophy, Princess Diana. But Scott wrote, “Diana told me: ‘He gives me the creeps.’”
This creepy, inappropriate man is running to be President of the United States.
Franklin Foer wrote in Slate under the succinct title, “Donald Trump Hates Women”:
Trump considers himself such a virile example of masculinity that he’s qualified to serve as the ultimate arbiter of femininity. He relishes judging women on the basis of their looks, which he seems to believe amounts to the sum of their character. Walking out of his meeting with the Washington Post editorial board this week, he paused to pronounce editor Karen Attiah “beautiful.” When he owned the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, he would screen all the contestants. His nominal reason for taking on this role was to make sure that his lackeys weren’t neglecting any beauties. His real motive was to humiliate the women. He would ask a contestant to name which of her competitors she found “hot.” If he didn’t consider a woman up to his standards, he would direct her to stand with her fellow “discards.” One of the contestants, Carrie Prejean, wrote about this in her book, Still Standing: “Some of the girls were sobbing backstage after [Trump] left, devastated to have failed even before the competition really began … even those of us who were among the chosen couldn’t feel very good about it—it was as though we had been stripped bare.”
Even when you’re winning with Donald Trump as a beautiful object, you’re losing. Trump treating his wife’s external, commercialized beauty as evidence of his superiority is more reductionist, dehumanization of women.
This is how Trump would “make America great” again for women.
Donald Trump’s contempt for women is part of why he’s the Republican party’s front-runner. It is not a strike against him, but rather a reason to worship him.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.